What Did You Do to Come Through Your Marital Crisis?
Have you come through a marital crisis? I’d love to hear your story. You could be the innocent victim with a wounded heart who experienced shock or the remorseful offender with a contrite heart who experienced shame. But before you e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, perhaps you could answer some questions that would spark your memory.
The Six A's
Let me say upfront that there could have been any number of reasons for the crisis. Typically, though, a crisis falls under one or more of what I refer to as the six A’s: adultery, abandonment, abuse, addiction, apathy, or adversity. Does your situation involve something outside of these six attempted assassins of marriage?
Whatever the crisis may have been, what I do know is that the survival of your marriage was on the line.
Six Realities, No Pixie Dust
In your crisis, you had to face six realities. You had to . . .
- deal with inner pain that you could not wish away,
- find a way to handle the uncertainty about the future,
- respond to those seeking to be influencers for or against the marriage,
- try different ways to influence your spouse,
- face off with your faith in God, and
- decide if you would follow principles as a principled person.
As much as you wanted to sprinkle pixie dust on each of these and make them disappear, they wouldn’t evaporate. You had to work through and make a decision about each one. Is there anything else you would add to the list?
I could be wrong, but I am assuming that if you e-mailed me then you must have made it through the crisis.
You were not one who yelled, "I will no longer have faith. God has forsaken me. Nor will I be principled, as you say it. The principles I believed in did not work, so there is no reason to believe they will work. And, whenever I feel pain I will drink and medicate myself, or indulge myself in what satisfies me. As for my influencers, I am going to listen to those who divorced and follow suit. Actually, we are headed to Las Vegas in two weeks to have a good time. I need to get away to clear my head. Besides, I am exhausted from trying to influence my spouse. I am done. I cannot control them. I refuse to live with the uncertainty of what they might or might not do. I have to start looking out for me."
Instead, you worked through the crisis in a more mature way.
Would you be able to recall why by answering the following?
- What was the pain you felt? Can you describe it?
- Why was this your pain?
- How did you endure this pain until it eased since it could not be wished away?
- What was the uncertainty you felt? Can you describe it?
- Why did you feel this uncertainty?
- How did you survive the uncertainty until you felt more assured about the future?
- Who were the influencers on your thoughts, feelings, and decisions during this crisis?
- Why were they the influencers? Should they have been?
- If they should have been your influencers, how did you let them influence you?
- If they should not have been your influencers, how did you say no to their bad influence?
- What influence did you have toward your spouse in this crisis?
- Did you see your influence as different from your control?
- Why was this an important distinction (your influence versus your control) to keep in mind?
- Can you describe how you sought to influence your spouse?
- Can you describe how you tried to control your spouse? Did this ever work?
- When you could not control your spouse, did this mean you had no influence on the heart of your spouse?
- Did you have faith in God? Who was He to you in this crisis?
- What did healthy faith look like to you in this crisis?
- Why were you tempted to stop having faith during this crisis? Did you ever?
- What enabled you to keep trusting and obeying God?
- Did you have principles to live by that you would not compromise? For instance, did you stay truthful and trustworthy moving forward? Did you refuse to get so angry and fearful that you turned irrational (making unreasonable and groundless claims)?
- Why be principled? Why not?
- How important was it to you to be a principled person in this crisis?
I have a hunch that I will hear that you . . .
- endured your pain that you could not wish away but which eased in time and engendered empathy.
- lived with the uncertainty of the marriage but found composure apart from it.
- let wise influencers advise decisions that were not easy to make but often proved best.
- knew your influence couldn't control the outcomes in a spouse but could convict and win.
- exercised faith in God to hear "Well done" for doing your part in the marriage regardless.
- acted according to principles as a principled soul to enjoy a clear conscience and dignity.
I know that what I have penned here could bias you to tell me what I want to hear. Don’t do that. Instead, I provide these descriptions to jar your memory. Some folks came through the marital crisis but cannot recall what they did or why. My hope is that this serves as a reminder, not as a script. I desire to know what you did, and so will others.
E-mail me at: email@example.com